Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday slowdown

Sometimes there is just nothing like the old songs!

Hope you enjoy and receive a blessing......sing along with me!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Guided thoughts, 11

Sometimes it's hard to see anything except what is right in front of your nose.... don'tcha think?

We've all been there.
Staring down your own mortality because you are flat on your back in bed, possibly in a hospital environment.
Glaring at money troubles, with the bills laid on the desk in front of you.
Gazing out the window, blinking back tears, because you just had a fight with your spouse, your child, or your neighbor.
We get tunnel vision.
All we can think about is that we might be stuck in that bed from now on, or we might have that pain from now on.
All that occupies our mind is that the money just isn't there to pay those bills.
Nothing else sticks in your head because you are hurt from that argument that just happened.

Circumstances can look really, really bad in front of us.
Things can look unsteady. Unbeatable.
Yep, been there.
And it's exceedingly hard to take when someone chirps cheerfully to us, in Pollyanna tones. Things could be worse, they tell us. Look at the bright side, they say.
Oy vey.
Don't want to hear that right now.

One time that I was there, I read about a situation that has made sense to me ever since. Maybe it will help someone else, so I will tell the story . . .

On a perfect football afternoon in 1982, the Badger Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin was packed full with a standing-room-only crowd. The die-hard University of Wisconsin fans were watching their beloved team get pummeled by the Michigan State team. Wow, was it lopsided by the time the third quarter rolled around.
The announcers kept asking each other why so many of the Badger fans were cheering madly -- absolutely yelling their heads off. Their team was being crushed!
Here is why: just seventy miles from that stadium, their popular Milwaukee Brewers baseball team was beating the St. Louis Cardinals in the third game of the World Series! Most of the fans in the football stadium were listening to the baseball game on portable radios, and were cheering like crazy because the Brewers were winning....seventy miles away!

They were not focused on what was right in front of them. (Grin)

That's how life is for us believers.
There will always be circumstances that try our patience.
That make our spirits droop.
And we may not want to hear that Pollyanna chirping.
But we do still have a lot to cheer about in life.
Even when things look unbearable, and unpredictable, and even unbeatable, we can take life head on, by focusing on things other than in front of our noses . . .
For we walk by faith, not by sight: (II Corinthians 5:7)
Heads up! Look past that "thing" that's right in front of you . . .
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (John 1:12)
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:15-17)
You, dear friend, are a child of the King. You are one of His masterpieces. You are a part of His plan.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
You are His friend, and He has a mission for you, so commit the things "under your nose" to His care -- and to His strength -- and then concentrate on the things that make us want to stand up and cheer! (And then fall on our knees to thank Him!)
You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:14-17)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Guided thoughts, 10

Quilters like me are sometimes consumed with our craft. Our hobby can become an obsession. Our mind is filled many times with thoughts of color and contrast.

We can spend countless hours doodling on a pad, designing a quilt block. It may take time, but we will finally get what we "see" in our head, down onto the paper.

Then we will carefully choose our fabrics. Solids and prints, dots and stripes, florals and geometrics. We'll set out a group, then come back and make changes, and tweak things with new pieces added into the mix.

We can't forget the thread, either. What color? What weight? Perhaps a variegated thread? Or a smoky nylon, that is almost invisible once used. The batting, too, is an important consideration.

All of these things go into making our project. It may or may not be a masterpiece when it's done, but oh, the care that has gone into its making!

Our Father takes even more care in developing and nurturing and guiding us, His children.
However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—    the things God has prepared for those who love him— (I Corinthians 2:9)   
And this, verse, too:
The Lord will guide you always;    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.You will be like a well-watered garden,    like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
He chooses the threads and the fabrics that go into the weaving of our lives. When the hard times come, we often turn to this verse, which comforts us concerning His plans:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)
When He is done with us, we will be a masterpiece!
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Verses that inspire

I don't know if you've ever seen one, but I dearly love the catalpa tree.

It's a gorgeous tree, and it never fails to remind me of our Creator God . . .

The catalpa tree is one that has a unique relationship with a caterpillar! The beautiful, heart-shaped leaves are prized munchies for the catalpa worm. The worm's coloring is very much like the tree leaves themselves, so that the caterpillars are hidden much of the time from the predatory birds that would love to snack on them.

The caterpillars are fierce eaters -- they can defoliate a tree in "two shakes of a lamb's tail" as my grandma used to say, and if you have seen a lamb nursing from his mama, you know that tail can shake pretty rapidly!  Yep, in no time flat, all the leaves are gone, and the caterpillars have provided droppings that enrich the soil around the tree, so that it grows magnificently. It can even put out more leaves and be stripped bare by a second generation of caterpillars -- in one summer!

The worms themselves are prized by fishermen, but that is a whole 'nother story . . . the relationship between the caterpillars and the trees just proves to me that the people who don't believe in a Creator God are just not very observant!

I mean, how do those critters find the catalpa tree? After all, ours is the only one for miles! It was sent to us from out of state, and planted in our pasture, so it's not like there's a whole grove of 'em! But our Father planned for the symbiosis (I just love that word) of tree and caterpillar, just as He planned everything else in our beautiful world!

In my mind's eye, I can see Him forming the hills, patting the mountains into place, and giving breath to the wind. He set the galaxy in motion, and made the darkness and the morning. And He thinks it's perfectly OK to tell us about Himself, and He sent His Son to redeem us. I find all of this so amazing. So breath-taking. So fall-on-my-knees earthshattering.

What love, mercy, and grace.....
He who forms the mountains,    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,who turns dawn to darkness,    and treads on the heights of the earth    the Lord God Almighty is his name. (Amos 4:13)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Guided thoughts, 9

This past weekend I witnessed a family gathering of several generations. No fancy stuff there at this gathering . . . this was just country folks enjoying each other's company.

There was a tiny girl nestled in her mother's arms, contentedly looking around at the folks and the food. It was suggested that she might like to ride on the big farm tractor from the shed, with her grandfather's help. Her eyes widened. The big tractor? Sitting on grandfather's lap? It sounded scary, but nice at the same time!

The tractor seemed huge.
Her little legs wouldn't reach the pedals!
And it was loud.
And it was unfamiliar.
Here it came, bustling out of the shed . . . the exhaust chuffing out of the top stack, and that loud, loud engine!
She instinctively clung tighter to her mom.

But then she heard a familiar, loving voice.
She looked up into that weather-worn, well-loved face.
And she held up her arms to her grandfather, and settled happily onto his lap, high up on the farm tractor.

Oh, Christian, whether a guy or a gal, isn't this the story of our lives?
We may need to do something that seems scary and unfamiliar. The task may seem huge, like we can't possibly get our arms around it. It may even be something that we've never, ever attempted before.
But if we listen, we will hear that Voice.  If we are doing His will, He will speak.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
And if we look closely, we will see His face.
Blessed are the pure in heart,    for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
And His arms will be around us as we try this new venture.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;    with your right hand you save me. (Psalm 138:7)
Now, that little girl may become more accustomed to that loud tractor. She might even reach out to put her hands on that big metal steering wheel. But always, grandfather's hands will be there to make sure the tractor goes where it should.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule,    which have no understandingbut must be controlled by bit and bridle    or they will not come to you. (Psalm 32:8-9)
And even if we try to steer things where we should not -- whether by mistake, or on purpose -- our Father will still have His hands on our lives, and keep us safe.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday slowdown

This week's thoughts, guided by the Spirit, left us thinking of the life that God has blessed us with. Let's utilize what He's given us, in working for Him!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guided thoughts, number 8

Do you enjoy vintage things?
I sure do.

Especially vintage linens.
Recently, I've been blessed to find some lovely things that have been in our family for years, and I treasure them.
Y'all know what feedsacks were for, right? (Grin)
We are so far removed from that world, today.... I can remember my great-grandma telling me about when she was small, and goods like flour, sugar, meal, salt, and animal feed would come to her house in bags. This was a big change from the tins, boxes, and barrels that her mom and dad purchased. It was a welcome change, she said, because the metal containers could rust, and the barrels could leak. The sewing or "stitching" machine with interlocking stitches made good double seams, and the companies sewed their bags in durable canvas. So durable, in fact, that the bags could be re-used, by the farmer bringing the empty sack to be refilled at the grist mill. Here in the Southland, cotton fabric began being used for the sacks in the very late 1800's, and since my ancestors were good Scots, and "pinched every penny till it squealed," they were among those who began to use the sturdy cotton for underwear, diapers, dish cloths and more.

The manufacturers recognized this as an awesome marketing opportunity. Of course, there were plenty of babies who sported diapers with the sugar or flour brand on their little posteriors, but more than that -- the companies began offering feedsacks in colors and even in prints. After all, if a thrifty sewist wanted a dress, she would want three or four feedsacks in the same color; or she'd want them all to have the same print. The companies could sell more flour or sugar that way!

The sacks that were not printed were still prized: the cloth could be bleached and lovingly cut into shapes for handwork. Many an evening was spent embroidering flowers and leaves onto the newly-whitened cloth. The only giveaway that it was a feedsack in its former life would be a tiny number somewhere on it -- that was the only thing that wouldn't bleach away!

What a legacy. Tiny, lovely stitches on dresser scarves, table toppers, and aprons. Except for a few photos, that is all I have to remember some of my "greats" by. I cherish those pieces, and I feel drawn to them, since I am a sewist, quilter, and crafter myself.

Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?
What kind of legacy will we leave?  What will we "pass along" to our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren?
Not being morbid, here.
But we have a limited time here on God's earth.
As the hymn says, "what's done for Christ will last."

First, we should teach our kids and grandkids about Christ Jesus.
The purpose of these laws is to cause you, your sons, and your grandsons to reverence the Lord your God by obeying all of his instructions as long as you live; if you do, you will have long, prosperous years ahead of you.  You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might. And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning. Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house! (Deuteronomy 6:2,6-9)
We are not bound by the law any longer, but these instructions are awesome -- we can surround ourselves and our kiddos with reminders of God's Word!

We can be an example of godliness for our children and grandchildren.
....set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (I Timothy 4:12b)
Let's leave a legacy that glorifies God, and leads others to Him!